School improvement efforts would get a big boost under the budget proposal President Bush unveiled yesterday. By changing some administrative rules, the budget would guarantee $570 million would be spent on turning around schools struggling to meet their goals under NCLB. That would be in addition to the $491 million currently being spent on such schools through a grant program. In the explanatory notes along with the budget, the Department of Education proposes that all states reserve 4 percent of their Title I grants for districts to intervene in struggling schools. That would total $570 million under the department's $14.3...


President Clinton's "train wreck" comments last week set off a discussion among the wonkish edubloggers. Phyllis McClure e-mailed me an several others that Clinton has amnesia. He forgets that he signed a 1994 law that had many of NCLB's key elements and that his administration didn't enforce it. Charlie Barone writes in two different items (here and here) that NCLB was the natural outgrowth of that 1994 law. Leo Casey suggests that Clinton's statement validates his theory that Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., traded his endorsement for the NCLB vote of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. But Sherman Dorn sees nothing ...


The Department of Education has posted its fiscal 2009 budget proposal on its Web site. It looks as if the spreadsheet that made the rounds in recent weeks had the right figures. The budget would provide nominal increases for Title I and special education. It would restore the Reading First program back to the fiscal 2007 level of $1 billion. And it would eliminate programs for career and technical education, tech-prep, and educational technology. The budget also proposes a significant change in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program. The Bush administration wants to eliminate the grants for after-school programs ...


Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings is going to appeal a federal court decision that revived a lawsuit claiming that NCLB is an unfunded mandate. Read all about it at The School Law Blog....


Over at Campaign K-12, my colleague Michele McNeil asks a good question: Is Bill Clinton using NCLB to get back at a certain Massachusetts senator for endorsing Barack Obama?...


Maybe the hidden budget data are right. The mysterious spreadsheet with a covert column listing FY09 numbers suggested that President Bush would propose $1 billion for the Reading First program. It's no surprise that the president would want to rescue one of his prized NCLB programs. Congress whacked it down to $393 million for fiscal 2008. Today in Alabama, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings confirmed that the president's budget proposal would restore Reading First's funding to $1 billion in fiscal 2009. "The president is going to work hard and ask for that billion dollars and get the Congress to restore ...


The Aspen Institute organized a session on Capitol Hill yesterday with the main purpose of prodding Congress to act on NCLB—and soon. "Maybe today we can start the surge on NCLB," said Tommy G. Thompson, a former Wisconsin governor and Cabinet secretary under President Bush and a co-chairman of the Aspen's Commission on No Child Left Behind. The most useful part of the morning for me was to hear from four Capitol Hill aides representing the members who lead the House and Senate education committees. None of them said anything newsworthy, but their comments summarized what the key players...


At some point during January, someone downloaded a spreadsheet from this link on the Department of Education Web site. The document contains every state's allocation under the department's state-grant programs, dating back to fiscal 2001. But this curious Excel expert clicked on a button to "unhide" data, and PRESTO: A new column appeared. It included estimates for fiscal 2009. Through the magic of e-mail, the spreadsheet started flying around Washington. Just about every Capitol Hill aide with an interest in education appropriations has seen the numbers, one source tells me. And plenty of people in the lobbying community have looked ...


The National Education Association plans to spend $40 million on campaign activities this year. Most of that will go to phone banks, get-out-the-vote efforts, and other standard campaign priorities. But the union wants to do more than support the candidates it favors. It's hoping to influence the future of NCLB. In researching this story on teachers' unions' campaign efforts, I found that the NEA's affiliates in Iowa and Nevada urged their members to propose resolutions on NCLB during their local caucuses. You can see the materials here and here. The resolutions are identical and raise all of the issues that ...


Last week, Alexander Russo took me to task for my blog item about a piece of performance art built around NCLB. It's something he wrote about last year, he noted. But I thought it was news (and I still do) that the show has moved from New York to Washington—a town where a substantial number of my readers live. Now, Russo gives me the chance to raise questions about one of his posts. He asks whether he has the exclusive news that the leaders of Senate education committee have circulated draft NCLB language. Well, it's not an exclusive. And ...


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